EMS building project attracts nearly 100 bids

The architectural firm Jacunski Humes' computer rendering of the renovation and addition to the EMS headquarters on Jockey Hollow Road.

MONROE, CT — Contractors lined up at Town Hall to submit bids to do work on the renovation and addition to the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ headquarters on Jockey Hollow Road. The bidding process officially closed at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We had nearly 100 bids,” said Terry Rooney, chairman of the building committee. “It was great. We’re really happy with the response. You don’t know what to expect.”

To keep the cost of the project down, the building committee is bidding every aspect of construction separately. Once all of the bidders are chosen, they will tally the total cost.

That will start a process culminating in a Town Meeting, where residents will vote on the bonding.

Aside from the bonding, the town has a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant to defray the cost of the project.

Right now, the next step is for the building committee to review the bids and select the vendors. A concerted effort will be made, with all things being equal, to hire local contractors.

“We’ll review all the proposals at the next meeting,” Rooney said. “This building project is Monroe first. That’s what we’re going to try to do, within reason, pump the money into the local economy.”

He said several Monroe companies placed bids.

Rooney said the building committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month. That would make the next meeting March 9.

The impetus behind the project comes from a feasibility study done years ago, before Ken Kellogg was first selectman. The study, led by Jacunski Humes Architects, determined the best project, based on location and affordability, was to renovate the Jockey Hollow firehouse at 54 Jockey Hollow Road.

The EMS Building Committee was created about three years ago and its current members are Rooney, John Brenna, Robert Westlund, Domenic Paniccia, Michael Vitello and John Ostaszewski.

Jacunski Humes Architects, which designed the renovation and addition of the Monroe Police Department several years ago, was hired as the project architect for the EMS headquarters through the bidding process and another bid process resulted in Burlington Construction Co. being hired as project manager.

The project has Inland Wetlands approval and the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a municipal referral from the Town Council.

Facility needs

During a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last year, EMS Chief Donald Smith said the Monroe EMS worked out of the electric room of the police station on Fan Hill Road before moving to Jockey Hollow Firehouse in 2001.

Over the years, Smith said the ambulance service has seen an annual call volume increase, rising from 900 to 1,500 calls.

The EMS, which has between 45 and 50 members, has outgrown its facility. Smith said there is no office space and the classroom, which doubles as volunteers’ dining room, is too small. There is no restroom upstairs and there is an unworkable shower on the lower level, so volunteers have to go home to shower and change, according to Smith.

Rooney said the main issue is that conditions are not suitable for an overnight stay.

The facility has 20 striped parking spaces, which Kellogg said is inadequate. The project would increase the parking lot to 64 spaces. Currently, Kellogg said people are parking on the grass when classes and membership meetings are held, are double parking and parking in front of ambulance bays.

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